According to a recent report, a work-related injury happens once every seven seconds in the United States. This means that nearly 13,000 workers a day get injured, which translates to 4.7 million work-related injuries occurring each year.
Many of these injuries take place within the first year of employment, with some of the most common injuries being sprains, strains, bruises, and inflammation. While major injuries aren't as common, they do still happen — examples of major work-related injuries include limb dislocations and electric shock.
Thankfully, employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance, which helps to pay for lost wages, along with any medical expenses that are incurred as a result of a workplace injury. In South Carolina, employers with 4 or more workers who work on a regular basis and are either full time or part time are required to carry workers' compensation insurance.
If you are seeking more information regarding workers' compensation, here are the answers to four frequently-asked questions.
1. How Do I File a Workers' Compensation Claim?
If you get injured while on the job, it's important to tell your employer right away. When you inform your employer of your injury, you should receive paperwork to complete in order to file a claim. Your employer will then submit the paperwork to the insurance company. Your employer can tell you if there is any other paperwork that is required to file the claim.
Once you've informed your employer, you should seek medical attention right away. If you weren't on the job site when injured, but the injury happened while out making a delivery or while doing any other job-related activity, you can still file a claim.
2. What Is Covered and Not Covered by Workers' Compensation?
When you are injured on the job, you will need to see a doctor for an examination, as well as undergo any required diagnostic testing. In most cases, you will also receive medical treatment. Workers' compensation will pay these medical expenses. In case your injury prevents you from working, workers' compensation will pay for lost wages as well.
Workers' compensation will also cover expenses incurred as a result of getting diagnosed with an illness or disease that is caused by certain workplace conditions.
You should be aware that there are some types of injuries that workers' compensation won't cover. For example, if you are using illegal drugs while on the job and get injured, you cannot expect workers' compensation to cover your medical expenses.
Other types of injuries workers' compensation will not cover include:
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries suffered while committing a crime at work
- Injuries suffered while not on the clock
If you suffer an injury that is due to disobeying company policy, it won't get covered. For example, if your workplace requires you to wear certain protective gear, but you do not use it and get injured as a result, you probably won't be covered.
3. Can I Get Treated by My Own Doctor If I File a Claim?
When you file a workers' compensation claim, you will need to check with your employer to see if you can be treated by your doctor. In the state of South Carolina, the employer has the right to choose your doctor for you.
In most cases, alternative types of treatment, such as chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy, will not be covered.
4. What If My Employer Isn't Helping Me Attain My Workers' Compensation Benefits?
If your employer isn't helping you attain workers' compensation benefits, or your company's insurance company is not paying on your claim, you may need to seek counsel from a workers' compensation lawyer.
If you have a work-related injury and need help with workers' compensation, contact The McDaniel Law Firm today.